(The following transcription came from the QuantumSHIFT podcast interview #45. Pardon e-typos)
Shawna Pelton 1:08
Today, I am joined by Leah Friedman, the psychologist, a teacher, a writer, a psychedelic integration facilitator and a permaculturist. Born and raised in Lowell mass. Leah obtained her master's degree in clinical psychology from revere University and worked as an in home therapist before psychedelics turned her world inside out. Now a student in psychedelic somatic interactional psychotherapy, p sip for short, a trainee in restorative and transformative approaches to conflict, a budding herbalist and the host of a podcast called the psychologists, conscious positive radio. So our intention for today is to D. stigmatize psychedelic therapy. I am so excited to have this conversation with with Leah today because of course, it is what I believe to be. It's going to be the new normal for trauma therapy moving forward. And so she and I are colleagues together with our P sip training, and we are interested in really bringing this subject to the mainstream so people can, you know, just have a more educated understanding of all the things associated the good, then, I guess the bad news, bad shadow. Absolutely. And so with that said, I'm excited to, to, to like dive right in and layout. Welcome. I'm so happy to have you here today. Thank you, Shauna, it's great to join you. So the very first thing I think we should talk about is the question on everyone's mind. What's a psychologist?
You know, I'm still learning what one is, but I'll tell you what it means to me now. After I got my master's degree, I was hoping to become a PhD candidate, and I wanted to get my PhD with a stipend, not have to pay for school anymore. But, you know, go through that sort of rat race and struggle of being a doctoral student and teaching and, and getting my my PhD because I wanted to be able to be involved in academia, as well as therapy. And so that was a good route. In preparing to be a good PhD candidate, I worked in a residential treatment center associated with a really powerful and well known mental hospital. And it was just not a great fit at all. So I diverged from that psychedelics came into my life shortly after, and I was very, like, closed to the idea actually, I didn't even recognize the difference between psychedelics and like cocaine, or meth or heroin. Like I just was like, all drugs are bad, you know, dare generation. So she's making a knowing face. Yes, China. You've been through that to some drugs. You're bad today. Yeah. Just say no. So I did a little traveling at that time. And I, you know, it always kind of pissed me off that you can't call yourself a psychologist. Unless you do some certain things. And even state to state it can vary, who's a psychologist, like one of my teachers, she's like, when I'm in New Hampshire, I can say I'm a psychologist, but when I'm in California, I can't be as like just these funny human rules. So psychedelics were so profoundly impacting me and and it was like influencing my lens on the world. And so when I thought about, like, what is this perspective I'm writing from that I'm speaking from, like, it's like a blend of psychedelics and psychology. It's like psychedelic psychology. And there's like, psychic dolla, G. psychologist, I'm a psychologist. And by no means am I the only one. Like, I invite anybody to identify as a psychologist. Yeah, cuz I'm totally
Unknown Speaker 5:22
like a biologist. Now that I know that it's what I am. Yay, oh my gosh, I love that story. Thank you. And you know what, I appreciate you sharing that whole like, perspective on seeing all drugs as one way I actually had a very similar I was very ashamed of my past, I was an abuser of drugs. And so I went from being, you know, very much in a state of out of control with with self self medicating, and self abuse with substances to being absolutely clean and pure, like zero, like even attempting not to do even much like Advil, or Tylenol, right, like I went, like real hardcore. And so I went very rigid on the other side. And so when I came back into this world through again, it was like, through this healing and trying to try to work on on resolving some very serious conflict within myself and and change patterns in my life. I was also introduced to psychedelic therapy and in a different way than what we're doing today. But it was what opened the door and, and so I had to come to a new relationship with the use of these really good medicines that have when you use them, Well, of course, have their place. So thank you for sharing that. What was your first, I guess? introduction? What medicine Did you get turned on to and the psychedelic arena.
Unknown Speaker 6:59
And also, I just want to honor your your sharing of your story there. And thank you for, for coming out. It's a beautiful journey. My first experience was with a low dose of mushrooms by myself. The context of that was the person who introduced me to psychedelics was a boyfriend, who I was very smitten with. He was a Vipassana meditator still is, and, and he, you know, part of his spiritual practice was taking high doses of mushrooms. And so it wasn't actually till we split up that I became interested in using them, and I will confess it was to impress him and show him what he was missing. I was like, I'm gonna take psychedelics and impress you now. And that actually, which, if you knew me in my earlier life, this would not be surprising at all, like, oh, I've never done that, Leah. No, not even our listeners have done that. Yep, yeah. And and I'm fortunate that trying to impress guys has led me to some really great things that now it's just part of my own life. So thank you guys. I guess. Everything's a mirror. But yeah, so I had a low dose mushroom experience that was positive. And then I was like, I'm signing up for Iosco. Here I go, I'm going to go to Costa Rica and drink I Alaska. And I didn't really have connection to anyone who did that sort of thing. But one friend learned I was doing that. And she said, You know, I think you should have a deeper trip before you go do that could be really intense. I scored you a hit of acid, here you go. I've never done it. I can't advise you. But like, here's a hit of acid. Okay. So like, one month before I was going to go drink I Alaska, I made a little ceremony which I had never done any of these things at all. And I took this hit of LSD and I had a really profound experience, I still come back to it like it was so predictive of the trajectory of my life. My plants were growing and dying right before my eyes, there's just watching this cycle of their life. And it led me to reflect on how I used to be so in connection with nature, in relationship with nature when I was growing up. And ironically, I diverged from that when I got into boys and I was dating and I just kind of like didn't go to the woods anymore. So that experience kind of brought me back and I felt like this inner knowing that my disconnection with nature was part of my disconnection from myself. I had like, yeah, I had over 10 years of time being riddled with eating disorders at that point, like since I mean even early I, if I could have started having disordered eating sooner I would have I just couldn't figure it out as a kid and then I like figured it out when I got to age 11 or 12. And then I was down this track. Have I really like hurting my body trying to make it be acceptable to other people. So so that trip was really profound and it led me to drink Ayahuasca in Costa Rica, I ended up volunteering at the Iowa hospice center and helping support people in the ceremony. It yeah touched me very deeply. And when I came home, I was forever changed. And I started going to psychedelics conferences and reading all of the classic books, you know, Huxley and meeting more people that led me to helping to start Boston entheogenic network, which is a Boston based group center that I'm
Shawna Pelton 10:37
now going to ask is that Boston entheogenic network just for guides? Or is it for anyone who's curious?
Yeah, it's for anybody in in the Boston area, who and and people from other states are in the group, too. It's on Facebook, anyone can join. But yeah, it's not a place to score substances. It's a place to kind of connect our mycelial threads with each other and, and find community of others who have been impacted by these altered states of consciousness.
so after Ben had been running for over a year, and during that time I also did psychedelic harm reduction, which it goes by many names. But in short, what I did is I would go to music festivals or gatherings where people were, you know, likely to be altering their consciousness with substances, or you know, ecstatic dance, all their artwork, all these things alter the consciousness. And so there's a space that's like a quiet, grounded space where peers who are sober can help support people who have gotten, you know, into a difficult place in their journey. And so holding space for folks as they, as they were in hell that they wanted to have fun at the festival, and suddenly there's like, their big shadow is right there. So, so being with that was really powerful. And I was also helping facilitate integration circles in Boston entheogenic network, which is a space to process and, and just figure out how to take the messages, the insights, the visions, whatever happened in the psychedelic journey, how to understand that on a deeper level, and then weave it into our lives, you know, the fabric of each day and who we are. It's like, it's like a process of distillation, like, you have this whole big trip. So okay, now, what are you going to do? So,
Shawna Pelton 13:23
through, that's so powerful, that's an important step for this app for what people are going through. To be able to is,
Unknown Speaker 13:31
yeah, and you mentioned in the beginning like psychedelic therapy, D stigmatizing psychedelic therapy and something so critical for people for I hope people can recognize is that it is a lot of work to trip like it could be the whole day could feel like a lot of heavy lifting. But really, the the work or the play that's done afterward, is what makes the healing lasting.
Shawna Pelton 13:56
Hmm, yes, yes. Yes. Okay. There's so much goodness there. Okay, let's dive into let's talk about the psychedelic therapy itself, because I think that people are actually confused when they hear psychedelics. First of all, they have a very specific type of drug in mind. Usually, like people will be like, Oh, yeah, I know. I've done psychedelics before. And so then we have, it opens up the conversation, but there's usually one way of seeing it. So let's talk about if it's okay, can we discuss the three tiers of psychedelics and why this matters to the work that people are doing for healing?
Yeah, no, that sounds great. Um, do you want to talk about the Tier One, two and three, or we can just riff on it? Okay, go for it. Yeah.
Shawna Pelton 14:49
All right. So, most people are familiar with tier three. So we'll start there and go backwards. So the tier three is the universal mind It's the unity consciousness. It's a transpersonal experience that people would have with certain types of substances like psilocybin from mushrooms, for example, is LSD. A tier three? Do you know? I can't remember. kind of seems like Yeah.
I think so. And and I even think that the, the tear NIS can it's like less rigid and like, because yeah, it's not. Yeah. and with a high dose of ketamine, which we have for tier one with psi looks at ketamine as tier one, but you can have a tier three experience on ketamine with room, you know, that altered like that a ego death or K hole experience.
Shawna Pelton 15:43
Yeah, I've even had tier three experiences on cannabis. Exactly. Yeah. So a tier three is when you open up that to to that higher, I call it the higher mind, right. And that means all of it, it's the collective, it's your own higher mind, your higher self, it's the collective higher mind. And it's also the higher mind of the one, right? So whatever someone refers to the one God, universe, nature, all of that, I believe, is what falls into that category. And so people think that when they go into a psychedelic experience, just having that's that that spiritual experience is what they need. So can we talk about like, the the pros and the cons of just that particular type?
Yeah, definitely. It's true what you say that people, a lot of people who are seeking psychedelic healing, have expectations of maybe ego death, which is like a dissolution of the self and oneness with everything. And I like to specify the ego death can also feel like aloneness and being just, yeah.
Shawna Pelton 16:55
Just further even dissociated, I think sometimes. Absolutely. Absolutely. So maybe, yeah, maybe what we should do is probably before we go into the really powerful talk about it, let's let's define this the other two then because I feel like maybe I can get lost in the subject and forget to introduce the, the other two. So tier two is about the identity consciousness. It's like who you are your self identity, that kind of thing, right? The way you see yourself and the way you relate to all of your life experiences, your your view, is it fair to say worldview is also in there? Do you think,
guys I think so. Yeah, I think so. I should have brushed up on the tiers before this, but
Shawna Pelton 17:38
and then tier one is primary consciousness, it's the body, it's the memory of, of your physicality, first and foremost, but like, what that entails and that is the nervous system. And and the fight, you know, the the fight or flight response, or even like that, like, you know, rest and digest response as well. Those are in primary consciousness. And so those are the three different tiers that different medicines can help access during a psychedelic experience. Okay, so now those that now that we have that out of the way, and everybody's kind of like, oh, okay, so now let's go into what people most assume is like the best place to start and why it's not exactly the best place to start. But it's that tier three experience. So
yes, yes, definitely. And I think that worldview is a tier two, right? So like, if, if tier one is the body and the nervous system, and then tier two would be the mind and my identity and how I think of myself and you and you know, that self and other and then tier three transcends the personal and it's the collective kind of consciousness, Stan grof sort of thing. Yeah. So a lot of people do have these tier three type experiences in psychedelic healing. And I also see people chasing that kind of experience, which can be disappointing for them if they aren't accessing it. But in any case, to have that unity consciousness experience. A lot of being human involves physical traumas and, and physical memory, physical experiences that get written into ourselves in the way that we relate to our environment. The the body is so wise, it's taking in all of this sensory information all the time, and it's, it's not all going to our consciousness. So it's like kind of you can, I always say like, when you walk into the ski lodge or a really smelly bathroom and you smell Oh, feet are like, ooh, like, smelly bathroom. But if you you know, unfortunately, if you have to stay in there, it's the smells not going to be so strong after a while because we actually have a processing part of our mind that then is like in the, like blogs that out? Yeah, just like some kind of turns down the intensity because it's not new anymore. Okay, got it got the message. And people with sensory processing issues, don't they actually might not have that decrease. So this isn't our brains and bodies? That's a really good point. Yeah, so anyway, so that's just the body alone, and our nervous systems are wired to help us survive. So when we, when we go through something that's stressful, the nervous system wants to remember what happened and even tries to reenact it to complete what we didn't get to complete when the when the trauma happened, whether it was holding, you know, pushing someone off of us or, you know, holding our breath like and anything like that, that the shock of, of a stressful or traumatic experience kind of still lives in the body. So that's tier one, right? If we're having a psychedelic experience and having like a tier three meeting with God, or, or ourself dissolving the bodily trauma and dissociation with, you know, the smell of gas of exclusion or being for me, it was like I had a car accident on the highway. So being on the highway, meeting, God isn't going to help me not be triggered when I'm on the highway, because it's my, it's like the body level remembering of that incident. And so therefore, to treat. Yeah, so to work on that trauma, we have to directly engage the body and the nervous system, which is what piece of does,
Shawna Pelton 21:36
absolutely, you know, about 10 years ago, when I did that was when I was first introduced to psychedelic medicine. But I was also like, I was on my journey of seeking, I was already kind of like, in my path of purpose. But to the degree that I could be not really knowing who I was, like I was, I was still lost, but yet I was on the path. I don't know if that makes sense. It does. Yeah. And so when I would get these clear, like I would have these waves of insights, not just it wasn't about the medicine, it was just about me doing my personal work and actually being open to understanding that which I didn't know. And something that I saw very clearly, because I'm a visual, like, as an intuitive, I end up seeing pictures to help me make sense of things. So I saw a picture of how, like this, there's this rarefied frequency of light that is the highest, like potential of our beingness, right? And it's this refined light that's so potent, that's so powerful. But if our bodies on the physical level aren't capable of actually trans medic transducing, that light, think about a transducer, what does a transducer do? It sends and receives information, every one of our DNA, like our DNA strands, our cells, ourselves, and our whole beingness we are transducers of light. What is light light is just information it is data. Okay. So if we can't actually transmute that transduce, that highest rarest form of light, it's short circuits, our nervous system, that was the visual I had, it was as if the motherboard shut down because it couldn't process it. It's similar to what happens if like, if anyone here in the US has ever gone abroad with their hairdryer, guilty, I plugged it in, in Italy, and I literally shorted the whole apartment, trying to plug my equipment into an outlet that didn't have the capacity to handle the power that was surging through it. And so we have to think in the same way, our electrical bodies, the nervous system that works in Pro, you know, works with the physical body can't handle all of the power of supreme consciousness, if it's still dissociated from these past traumas, whether they're our own traumas, or lineage based traumas that are still within us that cause us to be separate from our wholeness. That's how I saw it. And our job is to literally upgrade our software, if you would, or upgrade the the hardware. The capacity. Oh, right, yeah, true. upgrade the capacity to be able to translate perfect light, and to express that light through us as our unique nature. That's the visual that I had 10 years ago, but I had no idea how to even achieve that. So I was like on this quest of figuring that out. So here I am. 10 years later. Wow, brilliant, right where you need to be right where I need to be. Yeah. So the piece of therapy works. You know, I haven't thought of it on the tier three model yet. I've been focused on the level one with it. So if you want to talk about your perspective, how do you use it? And what do you see the benefits? And
I think that pcep can help with tier one and tier two, sort of figuring out healing, etc. I want to say something about dissociation. So you said, you mentioned dissociation. And this is so related to pcep. So I'm going to start with that. and nervous system states, I guess it's going to, that's how we'll talk about dissociation. Great. So in in the teachings of our instructor, Sasha Razvi, who has been practicing this technique for like two decades about, and then before that the the technique was invented by Eric wolterstorff. But it's only you know, in the last six years that it's been used with ketamine or cannabis or psychedelics to, like lubricate, and expedite the process of the nervous system. But essentially, we, when we're calm and relaxed and receptive, then that's like called state zero. And this is like when the antelope are grazing, and they're by the Oasis and everything's beautiful, everyone's happy and no one's there's really no risk right now. So calm. And then you know, let's say there's a lion is spotted a couple of miles off in the distance, so everybody's ears perked up. There's a lion walking over here. No one's panicking yet. But everyone's on alert. And this is state one. This is the state in which a lot of people are walking around living all the time. It's a state of anxiety. But it's not panic, right?
Unknown Speaker 26:37
We've normalized it.
Yep. Exactly. And people can, you know, I personally channel my state one into being, you know, a high achieving person and having a lot of podcast episodes. I was gonna say, things I've written. Yeah. So it's, you know, it's, it just is. State two is something that we can't sustain for long periods of time. But it's a state of full on panic. And that's when the lion breaks into a run. And he's chasing the herd. Or she because right. Usually the female lions are the ones Yanks usually the lion. Yeah. So So yeah, she's, you know, say, say we are the antelope, we're running away, and there's a lion hot on our tail. So it's like, oh, my gosh, survive, survive, survive. And that state to now, you can't always get away. So that lion catches us. And we're, we're struggling, kicking, fighting. But you know, she's latched on so we can't get away, then we dropped down into dissociation. So the first two states I talked about state one and state two are hot states. That sympathetic nervous system states, dropping down into dissociation, we go into this. It's a state of hopelessness, there's no solution. We tried. Like, if only there had been a solution, if only we could have gotten away, but we couldn't. And so this is where maybe a bit of a floatiness or disconnection starts to come in. And it's our own why's bodies having this response that's supposed to protect us by making what's happening less intense. So that state three, and state four is just an even greater expression of that this is when we're being eaten. And we don't even really know that that's what's happening because we're floating. You know, someone who watches themselves from another place in the room might be in this state four out of body experience. sleepiness, just that endogenous opioid response, which is when our body releases our own opioids to help us not feel the pain of what's going on. So especially if someone was in a trauma, and they went into dissociation, you know, their their nervous system sent them there as a protective mechanism. They are going to have that dissociation afterward, especially if they see the trigger, they might go into that dissociative response. So pcep is a includes a technique for pressurizing the nervous system to notice our dissociation and then move up out of dissociation into a wave what's called a waves changing state state for to stay three or three to state to where suddenly the dissociation cracks and outcomes panic and the emotions that want it to be felt the physical sensations, the even the incomplete autonomic responses or physical movements that didn't get to happen, which could look like running or trying to hit somebody or anything really, it could be anything. When I went into a state to in a session, I re experienced my car accident and I was on the phone in my hand went up to hold the phone to my head. I didn't even know it was happening. I was like, oh, like my I'm on the phone and then my hand just smashed into my face because that was what happened in in the accident. And I had The process does. Yeah. And I was like, I wasn't trying to touch on that memory. It was just what, what my nervous system needs.
Shawna Pelton 30:07
Yeah, I remember having moments where my legs were running, it's like what's going on? I don't know, I'm running. My body just needed to run, run, run, run, run, run, or kick or punch. And I would have those feelings. Yeah, so that's similar. Yeah, interesting.
And let me say one more thing I wanted to touch on how this can be tier two. So I was just talking about very physical level stuff. But let's talk about neglect. Developmental trauma, relational trauma, tional. So if if someone well as infants, it really doesn't make sense for us to be able to regulate ourselves survival wise, like, we can't communicate. And so if, if there's something that we need, we cry, and, and when we get picked up, and nurtured and given attention, it helps us regulate our system. So if we could regulate our systems on our own, it just would not be conducive to survival necessarily, and we're relational creatures, we need that connection that holding. So if that wasn't present for a person in their early childhood, or if there was abuse, or any sort of trauma that has the system, not trusting other people, then PSAP can work on that too. And so rather than a wave of a physical motion coming up, it would, it might be a wave of, of a feeling, or a thought or an emotion. And transference is when the therapist begins to symbolize another person in our life or another group of people. And so we may transfer our feelings or our fears onto them. This comes up for me when I think my therapist is bored. They don't want to be here. They're looking at me as just annoying a burden. So but I have no reason to think that they're looking at me that way. It's what's arising our feelings that I've had about others thinking that others were not indeed interested in me are there to support me. So so that can also come up as a wave be felt processed, and then not not be so stuck? powerful? Yeah.
Shawna Pelton 32:14
And that's important also to recognize like that doesn't have to be even a conscious like, sometimes people don't even know why they're thinking that they assume it's because of what's in front of them what their physic like they're going through in the moment. But oftentimes, it's tapping into those, I call them decision points, when we make a decision to believe a certain thing. From an event that happened that we, at a young age, let's face it, we're innocent as non especially in the nonverbal states. And when we experience something that the nervous system goes through, as you just described, all of those ranges of nervous system states that can be very uncomfortable, and very scary and very, like, let's face it, you don't know what it is. So you don't know how to respond to it. And you make up stories about it. And so these are when our belief systems develop about ourself or about our about others. And then we end up behaving in a way that reflects our belief throughout life. And we repeat these these behaviors. And we don't even realize we've built up this, this way of being this identity and these protective parts, because of an interpretation of of an event. Sometimes it's not even the event itself, it was our interpretation of the event. And that's also important to recognize is there is a difference, but it doesn't matter. Either way, it's just needs to be discussed. When we get destabilized through this process, it kind of is a breaking down of those patterns of those beliefs of those. Those moments when we made decisions about who we are about who others are to us in relation to us.
I'd like to say that I this is so great, what you're saying, and the moment of the trauma, sometimes it's not like a what looks really big from the outside, but it's what it means to the person when it happens. And I like a lot of my clients, I think they they don't go into the depth of their trauma because they're like, it's not that bad. People go through a lot worse. I think this is this is like an escape because you can just okay, that way you can take the off ramp and not feel the extent of your pain, because it's real. And it's this is some Well, actually no sorry, rewind. trauma is anything that's too much too fast, not enough. And it does not have to be something that like maybe people think someone in a war zone or sexual assault or severe neglect, you know, it could be that the teacher said something, you know, in an off way, and so what on that day, that meant Something so much to the person.
Unknown Speaker 35:01
Yeah, absolutely. And it can also be just simply a pro longed stress state where someone just can't like, for example, like there are a lot of people who have caregivers who are less than nurturing, they might not be abusive. And so they'll say, like, Oh, my mother wasn't bad, but right, they always preface it, or my father wasn't a bad guy. But he yelled a lot, or my mother really didn't tell me she loved me or pick me up when I cried or comfort me when I, you know, when I was afraid, but she wasn't a bad person. He they weren't bad people, right. So like, all of a sudden, we're making up these like trying to protect the people we love. But the truth is, is that we went with needs that were unmet. So we had unmet needs as a development thing, as a person going through developmental stages. And because it's like this, you know, decades, a couple of decades length of time that we have needs that we need to work through developing with our caregivers, or immediate you know, the people that are influential in our life, even that can contribute to trauma, like a complex, PTSD type of symptom, severe psychological distress. Symptoms tied to those just simply chronic, unmet needs.
Yeah. And I think that any conversation about pieces needs to include a piece about resourcing.
So, to bring up these traumas, and to actually allow the emotions, the physical actions, or whatever to complete, our nervous system needs to believe that it's going to be okay to actually do that. So even if mentally we're like, Yes, I want to clear out this trauma, here we go, I'm going to hit it hard, like I'll do whatever it takes, the nervous systems don't really even know you don't know what you're talking about, like, we're not going to go there. This is to protect you. So the nervous system is not going to allow us access to that unless we resource the system. And what that means is having practices and practices or, or strategies written into our life, that that brings on a parasympathetic state or a rest and digest state. So this is the state where cortisol lowers, you know, muscle tension relaxes, the organs go back to doing their thing of digesting and the heart rate slows down. So parasympathetic, sympathetic, parasympathetic states are like states of calm. And so we have to be able to regulate ourselves to some degree, and even to regulate ourselves with the help of somebody that's called co regulation, that's I experienced this, the presence of a trusted person will help me get regulated, you know, in like, like nothing else, although I think I'm making awesome progress on being able to self regulate. But in any case, the nervous system won't let us Yea, the nervous system won't let us go there unless the system is resourced. And so people who are enthusiastic about doing psi p need to be engaging in their own resourcing resourcing schedule,
Shawna Pelton 38:43
right? Yeah, that's really important. And so what are some resources that you like to use that help you?
I really like to do watercolor painting and paint. Yeah, like, just paint some colors together of what I'm feeling or a vision that I had in a dream or in a psychedelic state, or just to sit and paint and play with with color and shape. I really get resourced when I connect my mind and body. So going for a run, going for a mindful walk, doing some mindful yoga. And because Yoga is not always like resourcing for me, I could do yoga as like a workout and be like the goal be flexibility and strength building. But if I want to if the goal is resourcing the middle be a slow mindful yoga, where I'm intentionally relaxing the muscles that are supposed to relax, tightening or stretching the muscles that are supposed to be stretched, so I kind of drop into that hypnotic state and like I said, another resourcing thing for me is having a close person hold my hand or hold me.
Shawna Pelton 39:54
Yeah, that's powerful. I also like nature You know, I like to be out in nature. hiking with my dog is a resource for me and I really resets my nervous system when I'm out in nature. But same like yoga, it's intentionally stretching certain areas that that need to be like, you know, I need to talk to those, especially my hips, like go hips, you can let go whenever you're ready. Um, and I also love to dance as a resource, and also love to color all our paint. But I haven't done that in so long. But I've been thinking about bringing it back into my life, because I think it's such a powerful way to get out of my head and just into my heart and be creative. But you know, food and, and even drinking water and tea, those are resources as well. And I always tell people, like after a session, there's no shame in those resources, whatever you think you had to, like, hold yourself back from because you know, maybe you're restricting yourself on a diet or some sort. This is more important to resource yourself with what you know, is like the thing that brings you comfort. So I tell people with mindful boundaries around it, right, don't binge but like, Don't Don't feel bad having an ice cream. You know, yeah, I have a client who was who's been like not drinking alcohol, not because she had an addiction to it, but because she just wanted to reduce inflammation. And she had not drank alcohol for a really long time. But after we talked about resourcing, she went out and had a martini, and she's like, I felt so good. I'm like, Yeah, great. She's like, that's what I decided I wanted for that night for every source. Yeah, no coincidence that came following our process, where we access her 22 year old self, who, that's what she used to do for fun at that stage. So it was funny how she recognized she was like, I felt like I was acting like my 22 year old self. Probably were. So yeah, that reminds me of a good. I was just saying funny Association. Yeah.
It reminds me of a colleague of mine who has developmental trauma. And so what she does to kind of resource and feel whole and safe is she'll put on fancy socks that she used to like when she was a kid. Just like that's what that that part that's upset me. It's just like, put on some colorful socks or snuggle with a blanket.
Nice. Ah, that's great. Alright, so resourcing is important. You know, let's talk about like, who this is, you know, what the, the actual therapy itself is really freakin powerful. All right. It's so powerful and we know it has the potential to truly help people create positive personal change. But who is it not for? We need to really make sure that people are aware of the Contra indications.
Yeah, definitely. So psychedelic work as a whole is destabilizing, right? It literally like taking a psychedelic increases entropy in the brain. The default mode network goes offline. This is with serotonergic psychedelics like magic mushrooms, LSD, Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, mescaline, you know, San Pedro, cactus, etc. So and that's what how we're allowed to, or where we have access to creating new pathways in the mind, because the, the old pathways suddenly don't become so readily traveled during that experience. But anyway, so just the nature of them is destabilizing and PSAP is, you know, it's, it's changing our pathways of safety that our body has evolved based on all of our life experiences, I just can't emphasize enough how wise the nervous system is. So we are deliberately tinkering with that, it's very important to be responsible, and not to engage like not to do a PSAP therapy session or sequence of sessions, if becoming destabilized is going to like wreck your life. So if you're balancing a lot of different things, and, and, and then ending up getting into a really emotional place where the things that usually help you relax, are not going to work for some time. That's it might not be a good idea. So it's good to really have the space to do a lot of resourcing around this. So that's in general for anyone, and then people with a family history of bipolar or personal diagnosis of bipolar. And this could be a whole podcast episode about like, Is it really bipolar? Either way, proceed with caution talk to your therapist ahead of time. So because this kind of work could trigger a mania or a manic flip, and that might just might not be a good idea. Anyone with a family history or personal history of psychosis, schizophrenia and other disorders like that, again, could be another podcast episode, spiritual emergency versus psychosis, etc. But at any rate, proceed with caution because the brain is already The very entropic in in that kind of individual. So
So what I liked is about how you said proceed with caution. And I appreciate that because it's not to say that someone with certain conditions, like you described is a totally like off the table, if someone has the right support system, the right like plan and, and going into it knows all of the possible scenarios that might or at least can be like accepting of all the possible scenarios that might arise. The temporary destabilization? If it can be, if it can be like, if you can be nurtured through it, when you're in that state, then I would, I would say that that's an individual choice, but going into it know very well that it's not like, Oh, I'm just gonna go repattern repattern My pathways? And like, no big deal. Yeah, nope, your your life might come on done, so that it can be rebuilt up again. And so that's really hard, even for the most resourced amongst us. But for someone who does have, like, you know, their life is not necessarily in like in a stable place to begin with, it just might be a lot more scary and uncomfortable.
So yeah, exactly. And for that very reason. Psi p also is not indicated for anyone who's acutely suicidal, or who has had a suicide attempt in the last couple, you know, 30 days or so. Also somebody with substance abuse or dependency, if they're less than six months of sobriety, it just really, that's a time to focus on whatever is working for sobriety. Because in destabilization, there could be a relapse, and that just might not be what the person wants. And cardiovascular risk is also a contraindication. Due to both the processing that happens in in psi P, and also that the medicines can increase blood pressure. So a person should be able to tolerate light to moderate exercise, like, you know, going up a couple flights of stairs, or that that kind of thing. And this is something to talk about with one's doctor, if you do have cardiovascular issues, to ask them like, would it be contraindicated with your physical health to, to do a therapy that might raise the heart rate and raise the blood pressure,
right. And with that said, speaking about communicating this with a practitioner, not all doctors even are educated on what psychedelic therapy is all about. So making sure that the person that you are talking to is, is perhaps educated and knows about it, because I think that sometimes others who don't know about it might turn away. I remember when I went for my medical card. for cannabis, the you know, the doctor that I went to what my primary care who was just honestly, where I went for, like emergency type stuff, I didn't have a relationship with them. But the he was like cannabis, I don't agree with that. And I'm like, Huh, then that tells me you don't know, the updated research and the science behind it. And so it just is it's the way the way of the world right now we're in a, an emerging new modality that has enough what I believe is enough data to back this, this modalities effectiveness, the efficacy, as well as the safety to a degree, you know, like anything, there's always risks, but to a very strong level of safety involved with it, and anyone who has yet to access that data, meaning if they just haven't educated themselves on it, and they have an opinion that, to me is close minded. And so I'm more cautious of the closed minded people that I end up have the open minded people but I'm also in the middle ground where it's like, don't just believe everything, because you're excited about something like do your your due diligence and, and make sure that you discern truth for yourself in an educated way.
I agree with that. And I'm a fan of healing in community and having people surrounding yourself with people who you can be honest with them, and you know that they're going to be honest with you, and that they can call you on your bullshit and like it might suck, but you can still trust that they love you and they're doing it because they love you. I think that that's really important. And, of course, practitioners need to fall under that as well that that, that they will get informed and be able to know if their biases are informing the advice that they're giving. Yeah, I mean, I could just go I have lots of stories on that. But I think are we are we reaching wrap up, we didn't even tell you how people use psychedelics and psi P. But basically, Cannabis, or ketamine, and a low dose can facilitate this process happening faster, right.
And the practitioner is not administering it, because it's illegal in the states where it is offered. The client is responsible for arranging for their medicine with a prescribing whether it's a physician or a place where they can purchase,
right? Or if it's a state where recreational cannabis is legal then so they just have their own already.
Yeah, exactly. So awesome. I mean, look, we definitely could talk about this for hours, clearly, and there's so much more to it. But I think this is a really great place. And as we do continue to see I think well meaning like more and more psychedelic therapeutics offered in our society, there's going to be more people who are interested in exploring it and it's important for them to know all of the, the, you know, the pros and cons. So we just went through a list of cons is, is there a pros list that you want to make sure you cover?
pros of psychedelic therapy? Yeah. I mean, all anybody has to do is read any of the psychedelics magazines, or you know, even New York Times articles about psychedelic therapy, and you'll hear about all of the benefits. I will just say from I'm a fan of using personal experience, I was just gonna ask what did you get out of, um, I used to hate my body hate being in my body, and the medicines very gently and in a in a, in a both complex and like hyper simple way showed me that like, this is actually home like this is this is the first home and then any place that I feel at home is another home, but like this is the number one and that I learned to hate my body from messaging from my surroundings, and also also from sensory needs that I had that I just wasn't validating. So psychedelics helped me come home to my body, they have helped me to process things that happened in my past, they've helped me set a course for the future of what I want to feel like and the ways that I want to share my gifts with the world and, and help catalyze healing for other people. And and psychedelics have, they've helped me not fear death, it's so it was never an intention, like, but through all of this I've come to, I've come to really enjoy being alive now and also to sort of await the moment when I bid farewell to this reality in this consciousness and rejoin the whole. So I had no spiritual or religious beliefs my entire life. And now I kind of do and that was totally unexpected, and it enriches my experience so much.
Ah, I love that. Yeah, thanks for sharing. I had such severe self esteem issues, like so low in thinking about myself, which meant the way that I let people treat me and what my boundaries were, were like, what boundaries?
yeah. And so as a result, I was either always being taken advantage of giving my power away feeling abused and used and neglected and abandoned, and just just self fulfilling prophecies, you know, I believe a certain thing, I acted a certain way I got that thing. And it was like, see, I really helped me to develop my sense of self and be able to uphold my boundaries better and in a way that I didn't even it wasn't like I had to learn a new skill. It was just like, I made a new decision about who I really am. And I also believe that my experience has helped me to open up my heart to trust again, because I had lost trust. I had lost my connection to life in general, like I didn't have joy in life and I didn't feel like no, you know, like the connections with people were superficial. I didn't feel like I had intimacy really and like so is able to open up my heart to trust again. And also what I say is see the truth in all things. And when you can see the truth in things that doesn't mean that Everything's rosy, it just means when it's not rosy, you're okay with it, because you see it for what it is. And you know that, you know, you kind of have a new way of responding to the things that you see as well. Um, so those are the positives for me. But also, most recently, there was a block that I had, this was, so all of those things that I just described, were my tier three revelations. But I, even though like are tier two, because it was about the self and the identity. But my tier one revelation came after piece of therapy. And I didn't even know that it was going to help this going in. But I have this block, in, in my life that was affecting the way that like I was in business, like, I think that anyone who's an entrepreneur printer knows how important it is to like, have sustainability in business and be able to like, you know, there's there's ups and downs of the influx of different clients. But like, I would have droughts, and then floods and droughts and floods. And it was really uncomfortable for me to live in those that place as a business owner. In it, it literally just wiped out whatever block that made that happen. When I tell you it's just been a consistent steady stream, since since doing that first session, every block related to my business has gone even to the degree where it was like, you know, questioning like, Alright, well, how do I want to represent myself? And how do I want to talk about what I do and, and like, I got so crystal clear and felt very grounded and anchored in this, this role of what I do. And then everybody who I worked with, was having profound transformation within a short time. And I was like, Whoa, something happened. So Wow. Yeah, yeah. So that was good. And it and I also just felt that there was a different, like, I felt different on a cellular level. And I couldn't explain how I knew that something changed in me, and it was just never coming back. Like whatever changed was a permanent change, and I just know it. And then come to find out, it's the most common thing that I'm hearing from the people that I'm working with. That's what they that's like, within their own way of phrasing it. That's what they're saying is happening. So that's really cool. Yeah,
yeah. And I always remind people, like, it's people say, Oh, I (aya) saved my life, or, you know, if it wasn't for LSD, I'd never be where I am. And I always like to empower people that it's like, it's the relationship with the medicine that gets you there. It's your own healing, inner healing wisdom. So like, these experiences can be so many different things. It's really like each, each trip is different. Because every brain is different. And every moment is different for each brain. So people can get like these expectations about what psychedelics will be for them. And if they're like, if what they want to treat, like their depression doesn't go away, when they take psychedelics, it can feel like wow, I'm really broken, even psychedelics, which everybody is raving about didn't help. And so just encourage people. Yeah, that it's, it's, it really can be an upward spiral kind of journey. Yeah, psychedelics aren't for everybody. Right does not mean there's anything wrong with you, if this doesn't work for you. And also like, it could be that trying it in a different mindset next time or trying in a different setting next time, or both, or with a loved person being there, or a professional like, just in or in nature. Yeah.
Well said, I also think that what matters to the experience isn't just like the event itself, having the psychedelic experience is one thing, but like you pointed out the distillation process, like when you gain new insights, there's an integration that happens. And so there is a way to support and nurture that integration. And I think that that's a missing piece. For a lot of people. They think like, Oh, I have the session. I'm good. It's like, let's work with what comes up through that session. And help us to make sense of the experience in a way from an anchoring it in right, so to embody that new newness. That comes comes up for people. Hmm,
That first time that I was in Costa Rica, I like I was in conscious community. I was outside all the time. Just everything. And when I got home, I felt so stunted. Like I just it was March in New England it was and I had just been in Costa Rica for months. And what I realized was that the medicine work was like planted or it germinated, some seeds that were within me, you know, some some dormancy within me, they germinated. And then just literally the sunlight in the water in Costa Rica and everything there, the plants were like, poof, they were going off growing so big, these new parts of myself were, were thriving. And then I came back to the US, I was not in community, I was down in the basement, you know, the sun wasn't out. And so my plants were like, they had grown so robust, and now they were withering, and they didn't have the nourishment. So it was, I had to find a source of light for these plants and a source of water and nourishment and the right temperature. And so that's really like tending our own process is very much like having a garden and pulling out the weeds and giving the plant you know, looking at the plant and the health of it. This is like our development what what, how much more can we nurture our growth? Hmm.
I love that analogy. What a visual as you were talking, I was seeing parts of you weathering and growing in relation to where you're at with it. So I'm a visual storyteller. I love that. Ah, well, thank you, Leah, for you know, talking about this with me and sharing your wisdom with our community. I would love to, you know, perhaps think about what we can continue this conversation with perhaps so like another time with with going deeper into it? Or even How about this, I'm going to invite people who are listening and who do have questions, if they want to reach out with those questions. And then maybe we can come back and like just basically have a q&a. Would that be Oh, I
love that idea. Yeah. And I really love you Shawna. Love your words. So feeling's mutual.
Sweet. That's an invitation to anyone who's listening. What are your questions? What would you like for us to talk about art to go deeper into and let us know. And we'll set a time up to do that q&a. All right. Well, this has been a treat. Thank you so much for for joining me, Leah with this, this talk and then also for the listeners for spending time with us today.
I really am grateful for your presence.
And with that said, I hope that you enjoyed this episode as much as I did, and I look forward to the continuation
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an observer of natural laws and patterns,a lover of learning, a proud mother, adoring grandmother, redeeming daughter (sorry for causing you trouble grwoing up, mom & dad) and passionate about serving YOU! <3